One of the questions I get asked most is “How do I make a room look more interesting?” Interesting can be a fairly loaded word, but what I think people are really asking me is,
“What can I do to make my home different from everyone else’s?”
My answer is: mix it up! There is nothing more boring than a room filled with things all from one store or for that matter filled with objects from the same period.
For example, all mid-century modern or all French country. If you crave a space that is interesting, personal and original then you’re going to have to choose things from different design periods, parts of the world and creative movements and bring them all together under one roof.
In my own living room I have a sleek contemporary coffee table of Carrera marble and stainless steel, French country caned back chairs with seats covered in raw linen, a gilded console table from the 19th century made in Rome all surrounded by 20th and 21st century contemporary art and photography.
I mixed it up and it looks great! In my work as a designer I make it a point to educate my clients on the value of mixing various design elements.This often shows itself quite obviously when I have clients who are merging two households.
Recently, I have been working with a couple, one of whom collected quite a bit of contemporary art and the other who loves 19th century Canadian antiques. They thought their styles clashed, but instead I showed them the value in celebrating their differing tastes. I used the various elements to our advantage.
By doing that we created a totally original and some would say, surprising, interior. Another easy way to mix it up is to layer various textures, patterns and colours. This can be done easily with accessories such as pillows, carpets and throws. Using strong graphic patterns with florals or antiqued fabrics with a modern metallic can be really fun.
For something a little more daring, wallpaper is a great tool to help layer and create a unique mélange. Also, don’t be afraid to hang artwork on top of wallpaper. Some people have a real hang-up, pardon the pun, about this thinking
— that it’s wrong to hang art on wall covered in paper
— when in fact you should feel free to do so and that’s what makes it special.
I also really like to layer carpets. For example I enjoy sisal carpets laid down on top of hardwood or stone and then on top of that sisal lay a Persian or other highly stylized or graphic carpet. This not only warms up the space but it creates drama and sophistication in a very easy way.
When you’re looking to create a truly personal and original space remember to mix it up. I always go by my adage if you love everything in the room individually, it will all work collectively. So take some chances, be original and be sure you love every single thing that surrounds you.
If you do this the mix will create the most unique, special and unexpected environment in which to live.